If you were told there was a brand out there that sold 1.9 billion units each day, a brand that is recognized worldwide and accepted by demographics covering all possibilities, a brand whose business generates a steady 10% ROIC (return on invested capital) and above, what type of stock chart comes to mind?
Certainly not the likes of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) recently, a stock that has declined by as much as 15.3% from its high price of 2023, bringing it to a fresh 52-week low price of just a tad below $55 a share.
If anyone can pin this decline on some made-up company issue and succeed, the world may have found its next big genius.
Understanding that Coca-Cola is part of a set of reliable and stable low beta stocks, which will fare exceptionally well during current volatile environments, can build the first pillar of knowing why it is a good deal today.
Don't Forget the Moat
There are a few select brands to choose from in the United States consumer stocks universe that offer continuous growth and entrenchment and the type of moats that allow the whole business to cushion any inflationary environments the global - or local - economy may bring.
Companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) see their revenues rise from high single-digits to low double-digit clips almost every quarter, a trend that was amplified during the 2022 year, which brought the highest inflation levels in over a decade.
How can these brands achieve this while everyone else copes with shrinking margins? One word - Buffett's favorite - a moat. A moat allows these companies to raise their prices without any consequence regarding their sales volume and demand since people will pay almost any price increase to keep getting their fix.
Coca-Cola has achieved a quality moat and, more importantly, a cultural canal. People see Coca-Cola products as many things; some need it during family gatherings and other events; for some, it is a 'must have' during long study sessions or sporting events; for others, it is their long-awaited daily treat.
Get the message? If you are craving a Coca-Cola drink this far into reading, you can be sure that Coca-Cola stock should be going nowhere but up. There are fundamental reasons to back this belief, not just the deliciousness of the drink.
Inside the financials, investors can find a steady gross profit margin above 58% almost every year, which is an insanely high level of profitability. This level reflects the company's deep pricing power dynamics and relationships with suppliers and consumers across its vast network.
In other words, a 23% net income margin (almost unheard of) should never be subject to a stock price decline like the one experienced in Coca-Cola stock. In its infinite wisdom, Wall Street has recognized the fundamentals for once.
Is this Right for You?
Analysts have come together to agree on a consensus price target of $68.3 a share, which implies the stock needs to jump by as much as 24.2% from today's prices. Again, a low beta stock the size of Coca-Cola bringing double-digit upside? Unheard of.
Considering the simplicity of this business, markets can lean on these targets and expect a high level of accuracy, as there are not many moving pieces to this machine. For due diligence's sake, here are a few reasons why the upside is justified.
For the second quarter 2023 results, the company reported an 11% increase in net sales, broken down into a 10% price and product mix improvement, followed by a 1% growth in concentrate sales.
Increase costs by 11%, beat inflation, create value for investors, and sell more units moving forward. This is why some consider this stock a must-have. Investors can receive a current 3.3% dividend yield while waiting for the stock to reach its fair value.
Here's a little math to help you determine the right price for this stock. The stock currently pays a $1.76 dividend per share - a year -making today's yield (3.3%) high, though not the highest.
2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic brought this yield up to 3.5%, requiring the stock to go to $50 a share to reflect this high yield again. The deal boils down to paying today's price or risk waiting for a lower $50 a share level to save 10% on the buy price.
Saving 10% may sound enticing, but knowing that the company just grew its earnings per share by 34% and dividends are known to increase reliably may bring a renewed sense of urgency and value.